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Teaching the Learning Diabled
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July 2008

Self-Discipline and Learning Disabilities

Does your child or student procrastinate — even when the project being worked on makes it possible to do something enjoyable? Do you know any people with LD who can't memorize the times tables or other important rote facts? Have you opened their desk drawer or backpack and seen a disorganized mess? Do you have to tell them step by step what to do to get to school in the morning or how to complete their class assignments?

Children with these difficulties may have Executive Function Disorder. The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) says that executive function is a term used to "describe a set of mental processes that helps us connect past experience with present action." We use executive function when we perform such activities as planning, organizing, strategizing, paying attention, and remembering details. People with executive function problems have difficulty with managing time and space. They also show weakness with "working memory" (or "seeing with the mind's eye"), which is an important tool in guiding one's actions.

NCLD wrote an Executive Function Fact Sheet which tells parents, educators, and other supportive people how to help. Here are some recommended tips:

  • Use visual aids.
  • Take step-by-step approaches to work or school assignments.
  • Prepare schedules and review them several times a day.
  • Ask for written directions to complement oral directions, whenever possible.
  • Break long assignments into chunks and assign time frames for completing each of those chunks.
  • Use calendars to keep track of long-term assignments.
  • Minimize clutter.
  • Consider having separate work areas for different activities.


Literacy for Adolescents with Learning Disabilities

More than one in five secondary education students with learning disabilities (21 percent) are five or more grade levels in reading below where they should be. These students have fewer opportunities to improve their reading once they leave public school. And the work world is demanding more and more literacy skills.

The National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities just published the report Adolescent Literacy and Older Students with Learning Disabilities. The report describes characteristics that are typical of the adolescent learner, organizational challenges of middle school and high school, and how these challenges can be met.

For even more information on adolescent literacy, go to our sister website AdLit.org.

Where Are the High-Quality LD Resources?

Our LD resource section was recently updated by Shane Hawk, a mother of a son with LD and an active blogger. We list hundreds of websites organized by topic, type of organization, and audience. Review it now so that you are familiar with it when you need to find the right information or organization.

A Must-Have Resource from LearningStore:

Effective Literacy Instruction for Students with Moderate or Severe Disabilities


For students with moderate or severe disabilities, developing literacy skills is a critical component of successful communication, employment, and community participation. Finally, educators have a practical, concise guidebook for helping these students meet NCLB's academic standards for literacy.

Go now >>

Featured Articles

For All of Our Readers

For Teachers

  • Spelling

    Help dyslexic students spell by studying this informative fact sheet from the International Dyslexia Association. Learn why dyslexic children have trouble spelling — and some ways to teach them.

For Parents

For LD Adults

LD OnLine Proudly Introduces the New and Improved LD OnLine Yellow Pages

Each month, over 200,000 parents and professionals visit LD OnLine seeking information and resources. LD OnLine Yellow Pages gathers in one place the services and products parents and professionals are searching for. It's a fast and easy way to find what you are looking for — simply search by location, specialty, or service. Browse the LD OnLine Yellow Pages for products and services geared towards your needs.
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Advertise in the LD OnLine Yellow Pages

Reach more than half a million parents and professionals each month. Since 1996, LD OnLine has been the number one source of trusted information for parents and professionals.

All the Best from LD OnLine!

  • Noel Gunther, Executive Director
  • Shalini Anand, Technical Web Manager
  • Dale S. Brown, Senior Manager
  • Katie Chase, Associate Editor
  • Kelly Deckert, Web Producer
  • Laurie Fry, Publicist
  • Sun Kim, Web Coordinator
  • Christian Lindstrom, Director, Learning Media
  • Alan Lundy-Ponce, Director, Learning Media Websites
  • Joanne Meier, Ph.D., Research Consultant
  • Kevin Coonce, Web Intern
  • Rachael Walker, Outreach Consultant

Newsletter Editor: Dale S. Brown

The LD OnLine Report offers news about learning disabilities and about the latest events on our website. LD OnLine and the LD OnLine Report are made possible in part by generous support from Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes.

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